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Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. (Photo: NJ Globe file photo).

Poll: Americans divided on social media fact checks

Republicans want fewer fact checks. Democrats want more

By Nikita Biryukov, June 08 2020 11:00 am

Americans are divided on fact checks posted on President Donald Trump’s tweets, a Monmouth University poll released Monday found.

A little less than half of respondents, 46%, said the social media was right to flag a number of Trump’s tweets as untrue, misleading or in violation of its terms of use. The results were, unsurprisingly heavily split along party lines, with 60% of Republicans opposing the tech company’s fact-checks and 73% of Democrats supporting the same.

Despite that, few Americans thought social media companies were doing a good job monitoring what was posted on their site. A little less than half, 45%, said Twitter was doing a bad job, and 59% said the same about Facebook.

In each case, less than a third or respondents — 29% for Twitter and 32% for Facebook — said the social media firms were doing a good job moderating their users’ content.

Democrats were more likely to say the sites were not doing enough moderation. A little less than half of respondents, 49% said so of Facebook’s moderation, and 42% said the same of Twitter.

Republicans, on the other hand, were more likely to say the social media firms were doing a bad job because of overzealous moderation. Just under a quarter, 24%, said so of Twitter’s moderation, while 37% said the same for Facebook.

“Democrats want to see more social media content flagged while Republicans want to see less,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

An executive order penned by Trump that could make social media sites liable for content posted on their sites has seen more opposition than support. Half of respondents said it was a bad idea, while 45% of those polled said they supported the order.

“Americans are divided on the president’s executive order, but more seem to side with the social media site on the larger issue of monitoring user content,” Murray said.

The measure’s high Republican support — 76% of Republican respondents said they approved of the order — comes as no surprise. Republicans leaders have long claimed discrimination on social media platforms.

Roughly four-in-ten Republicans said social media platforms treated content involving Trump unfairly, while roughly 60% of Democrats said the opposite.

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